“I can’t look at another half-naked man.”
I never thought I’d say those words to my husband. He gave me sympathetic pat, refilled my glass of wine, and sat next to me on the couch.
“You can do it,” he said.
I shook my head and took a long sip of wine that was more like a chug. “No. I can’t. I’ve been doing this for hours and I just can’t do it anymore.”
Then he said the words I most wanted to hear. “Let me help.”
My brave seventeen-year-old son sat on my other side. They both knew I was a woman on the edge.
“I can help, too, Mom.”
Looking at photos of gorgeous, partially clad men had sounded like fun at first, but soon I became sort of blind to all the abs and pecs and muscly muscle-ness. I had to choose a photo for my promo company to use as a “teaser” – something to entice my readers to want to know more about my book. I had a beautiful cover, and a great book to offer, but I was stuck on finding just the right photo of my character, Michael Nightingale. Michael, my very hot and tattooed mercenary gypsy warrior, had a specific “look” – and I couldn’t find anything that came even close to matching what I’d imagined. I started to wonder if I’d ever find my Michael.
I’d started with the easier teasers. My book takes place in an area of York, England called The Shambles. It’s an old, higgly-piggly part of the city with narrow streets and buildings jutting out at odd angles. Finding a photo of The Shambles was easy, and locating an excerpt to match it wasn’t hard either.
Next I had a lovely romantic excerpt about the first time Michael touched my heroine, Emerson Shaw. I decided to let the words be the powerful part of this teaser, and found a perfect image to accompany them.
Finding someone who looked like Emerson, a former Junior Miss Kentucky who won pageants using martial arts as her talent, was a bit trickier. I needed the right mix of pretty with a touch of southern sassiness. As soon as I saw this photo, I knew it would work.
Now I was down to Michael. Beautiful, strong, amazing Michael. Monster hunter, Traveller leader, and leather-clad bad boy extraordinaire. But I couldn’t find him, or anyone even remotely like him.
“How about this one?” asked my husband, pointing to a photo of a bare-chested man.
“No. His nipples are wrong.”
He gave me a long look. “You know what his nipples look like?”
“Well, yeah. I wrote his nipples. Of course I know what they look like.”
A few minutes later, after trying several search words chosen by my son (“Try ‘hot, tattooed, sexy, and bare-chested,’ Mom.”), we finally found it. The perfect photo. The swoon-worthy, exactly right image of Michael Nightingale’s chest.
“That’s it,” I said.
My husband enlarged the photo. “Are you sure?”
I nodded. “Oh, yeah.”
I grinned as my husband and son did a high-five over my head. We were quite a team. And here is the Michael Nightingale teaser.
Pretty darned swoon-worthy, right?
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: February 26, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5092-0569-1 Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-5092-0570-7 Digital
Number of pages: 250
Word Count: 80,000
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor
Former Junior Miss Kentucky Emerson Shaw won pageants using martial arts as her talent and Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” as her guide, but a painful secret leads her to the University of York, and puts her in the path of tattooed and pierced bad boy, Michael Nightingale.
Michael is a Traveller, part of an ancient line of mercenary gypsies who protect the world from vicious monsters called the Moktar. When Emerson gets attacked, she has no choice but accept Michael’s offer of protection or face certain death.
Traveller society, full of outdated rules and ridiculous superstitions, isn’t a good fit for the headstrong Emerson. Traveller women aren’t allowed to fight. Traveller women aren’t allowed to win. Traveller women aren’t allowed to leave. But Emerson will do what she must, even if it means losing the one person who matters most.
Amazon Barnes and Noble Kobo The Wild Rose Press
“Who are you and what do you want from me?”
I took a deep breath. It probably wouldn’t be a good start to tell him he occupied my every waking thought and most of my dreams, too. I decided to go with a more conventional approach.
“You’re here every morning, and I thought I’d say hello.” I stuck out my hand. “Emerson Jane Shaw.”
He surprised me by reaching for my extended hand and holding it firmly. His hand, large, warm and rough, had cuts and bruises all over the knuckles. He had faint bruises on his face, too, and some small wounds still in the process of healing. He’d been in some kind of fight recently.
It didn’t surprise me. He had the look of a warrior about him, the lean strength and watchful eyes of a predator, and he was lethal. Sun Tzu would have seen it, too. He would have recruited him without a moment’s hesitation.
“Michael Nightingale.” He stared at me with those hypnotic eyes as he continued to hold my hand, using it to pull me nearer to him.
“I know. Mrs. Burke told me.” I couldn’t focus on what I was saying while he touched me, not that I’d done such a great job up until now with my witty repartee.
He tilted his head to one side, studying me the way a lion studies a gazelle before he eats it. His face was only inches away from mine.
“Do you like to flirt with danger, Emerson Jane Shaw?”
“Not usually, but today I can make an exception.”
The touch of his hand sent an electric current through my body that made my heart speed up and my brain slow down. He was intoxicating. I almost had to fan myself.
Abruptly, Michael let go of me and stood up, shoving his books into his backpack. I stood up, too.
Michael glared at me, threw some bills on the table and stomped out of the shop. Like an idiot, I grabbed my backpack and followed him.
He walked quickly through The Shambles, dodging pedestrians and umbrellas with ease. I wasn’t quite as lucky. The rain poured down, filling the street with puddles. Michael wore combat boots and jeans. I had on a useless pair of flats and no jacket. It only took seconds for me to be soaked to the skin and miserable. In minutes, I looked like a little blonde drowned rat.
I’m pretty fast, even in slippery shoes, and I was motivated. I kept him in my sights until he reached a side street at the end of The Shambles that led down a narrow lane. I was only half a block away when he turned and looked at me, his eyes locking with mine, and disappeared.
He hadn’t walked away. He hadn’t moved. He’d been there one second, and gone the next. Running as fast as I could, I reached the spot where I’d last seen him and looked down the lane and on either side of the street. My ribbon flew out of my hair, blowing away in the wind as I slid on the wet cobblestones and nearly fell. I skidded to a halt, realizing I hadn’t been fast enough. It was a dead end, and he was gone.
About the Author:
Abigail Drake has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and International Economics in college and worked in import/export and as an ESL teacher before she committed herself full time to writing. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, fun, and sexy. Abigail is a trekkie, a book hoarder, the master of the Nespresso machine, a red wine addict, and the mother of three boys (probably the main reason for her red wine addiction). A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.